Global mobile ad revenues up 83% in 2012


IAB / Interactive Advertising BureauThe U.S. IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB Europe and IHS revealed global figures for mobile ad revenue leaped a massive 82.8% to $8.9 billion in 2012 from $5.3 billion in 2011. With growth rates of 88.8% in search, 87.3% in display and 40.2% in messaging at a global level, ad spend in these formats reflects bullish growth in the sector.

Mobile ad revenue continues to be dominated by the search segment, which represented 52.8% of total global mobile ad revenue, or $4.7 billion in 2012, $2.5 billion in 2011. Display advertising accounted for 38.7% and messaging 8.5%.

The share by region of the global figure of $8.9 billion for 2012 is:

Asia-Pacific: 40.2% ($3,558 million)

North America: 39.8% ($3,525 million)

Western Europe: 16.9% ($1,499 million)

Central Europe: 1.3% ($112 million)

Middle East & Africa: 1.2% ($109 million)

Latin America: 0.6% ($50 million)

YOY growth was strong across the board, led by North America, which saw a 111% surge over 2011 figures. Western Europe also saw a major increase, 91% over the previous year. Other year-over-year upswings include:

Latin America: 71%

Central Europe: 69%

Middle-East and Africa: 68%

Asia-Pacific: 60%

“Mobile is coming into its own as a powerhouse advertising medium,” says Anna Bager, VP/GM, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, U.S. IAB. “Today’s advertising is happening in a world where ad campaigns can be planned and bought across global networks on multiple media, but the massive and continuing acceleration of mobile’s international impact provides new and exciting frontiers for content and communication.”

“From a creative and communication standpoint, mobile advertising is hyper-personal. But more so than other media, from a business perspective, it is global. Mobile advertising is being planned, bought and sold across national borders and regions. This makes a global market sizing initiative ever more urgent,” says Daniel Knapp, Director Advertising Research at IHS, and author of the research.

Key factors for the impressive increase in mobile advertising revenue are rising smartphone adoption/ 3G and 4G penetration, more time spent on mobile devices, better advertising monetization through targeting ad inventory consolidation: “We have seen a shift from a very fragmented landscape to one that is becoming more networked. Technological innovation has simplified buying mobile inventory at scale, enabling advertisers to better reach larger audiences across multiple publishers and advertising networks.”

RBR-TVBR observation: While these are great numbers, mobile ad placement is still hindered by cellular networks’ ability to deliver enough bandwidth and data throughput—not only for the content, but the ads as well. Ever been in an area with a ton of simultaneous mobile users? Try getting a video or audio stream to play while you’re sitting in heavy traffic–nothing but buffering and reconnecting. It’s called data throttling and it allows calls to go through to serve every subscriber the best way the system can handle at the time. But streaming? Pretty much not. We still have a long way to go to make mobile streaming a reliable, stable thing. Some networks are better than others, that’s for sure.